This year has already brought two huge developments in India's drive towards basic income. First the ruling party of Sikkim state, the Sikkim Democratic Front, are including basic income in its manifesto for the 2019 elections, with a plan to implement by 2022. And then the main national opposition party, the Congress party, has promised a 'nationwide minimum income for the poor', starting as soon as May 2019 if they are elected.
India has been leading the way on basic income in recent years. A major pilot experiment in 2011-2013 in Madhya Pradesh demonstrated the potential of basic income to support real quality of life for Indian people. The India Network for Basic Income has built both grassroots and high-level support for basic income, through persistent campaign work. In 2017 a major government report, the Economic Survey, noted that basic income could be 'an alternative to a plethora of state subsidies for poverty alleviation' and calculated that it would cost between 4-5% of GDP. Debates have followed at various levels of government, and public support has been growing.
The latest developments are dependent on electoral success, but with both parties showing strong support at the polls, there is every chance that either Sikkim or the whole of India will be enjoying some form of basic income within the next few years.
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Title photograph by Koustav2007 (Own work), CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons